The first episode of the podcast 883 Infinity, ‘Train to Pakistan,’ was a refreshing journey of jugaars, JBH (Jo Baat Hai) and JMD (Jay Maata Dee). A chit chat between Umair Kazi, co-Founder, Ishtehari, and Suveer Bajaj, co-Founder, Foxymoron as well as of Zoo Media, (two friends that stand united yet divided) is much more than just about relationships, linguistic expertise and desi similarities between India and Pakistan. It is a cultural experience to live and relive.
Narrating the cultural heritage of their own homeland, Kazi and Bajaj engage in a transformative dialogue in an hour-long session every Wednesday. They invite guests to share their experiences in both countries and how this divide can be lessened - if not physically, at least metaphorically.
The second episode, “Hasee to Phassee” had two well-known comedians as guests from both sides of the border - India’s Cyrus Broacha and Pakistan’s Junaid Akram – who talked about “the combined potential” that is unfortunately lost, “missing out on good friendship”, “cricket mania” and “super heroes”. It was a hilarious ride and the subliminal, yet serious messages in between cannot be missed.
The 883 in the title refers to the number of kilometers that lie between Bombay and Karachi, two cities with a historical link but a perception gap. While the distance is technically finite, the proverbial divide makes it appear infinite. This initiative aims to kick start conversations that resonate with the younger generation.
Kazi says that “as a media professional and a father, I’m acutely aware of the role the media can play in defining how future generations will perceive the world around them. Pakistanis and Indians are unfortunately perceived in pretty stereotypical terms in each other’s country. Over the last decade, Suveer and I have been having conversations about how our similarities and our differences, as normal human beings, need to be celebrated, rather than shunned by default. This is evident by some of the challenges we face as people from the subcontinent, whether its surviving WFH, or how we are all lumped together as ‘brown’ by the rest of the world. The podcast is both a great way to showcase our country’s tastes and culture to each other. And along the way, Suveer and I started to realise that perhaps we have more to learn than fear from each other.”
Although Kazi and Bajaj are both admen, the content of their podcast does not delve into advertising and marketing. “883 to Infinity focuses on culture, content and creativity via dialogue relevant to millennials and the young. While we both are admen and these three topics dovetail into marketing and communication, we consciously decided not to make it an advertising-centric podcast, because that would limit the scope of what we are trying to do.”
By Uzma Khateeb-Nawaz